Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Laura & Chris' Wedding at JCRaulston Arboretum

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Erica and Will's Wonderful Wedding at Melrose Knitting Mill on 10/6/18!

On this fine day this lovely sign greeted us as we arrived at Melrose Knitting Mill downtown Raleigh for the wedding of Erica and Will. The rehearsal the day before had gone well and everyone was ready, thanks to our event director, Blake Morrin, and her staff who had everything under control!
Mews Design was our florist for this wedding. Always the prettiest florals! 
A few early guests were there, mainly family. The aisle is bordered with generous rows of petals with tall candles interspersed. 
The altar area is beautiful. What a nice stable arch with draping and pretty flowers. 
Looking from the altar area to the other end of the room. 
On the other side of the wall of drapes is hidden the tables, all set and ready, which will be expanded into the ceremony space while the guests are enjoying cocktails in the courtyard of Mulino's after the ceremony.
A very pretty cake by Simply Cakes.
The table decor reflects the purple and lavender color scheme. In the background you can see me getting my sound set up with the DJ who was supposed to me Matt with Ultra-Mix Events. However he had an emergency and his colleague Rick filled in for him.
The sweetheart table is so gorgeous! 
A photographic guest book for the guests to sign. 
Special cake cutter and server engraved with their names and the wedding date.
Meanwhile, our photographer, Christina Stock, is getting photos of the bridal party in the courtyard of Mulino's while the guys are sequestered in the bar.
I got the maid of honor to sign the marriage license before the ceremony so I would not have to interrupt photos afterwards.
Our beautiful bride speaks with the flower girl Olivia who is a bit shy! 
Getting Matt, brother and best man of the groom, to sign the license in the bar area.
Grandma Margie was busy giving Will some good advice when I interrupted them to say hello.
A visit with the bride and bridesmaids before the ceremony began. 
The guests are beginning to arrive and take their places. Will's grandfather is getting seated on the front row.
The musicians from Triangle String Quartet are playing the prelude music as a little one watches with fascination. 
The guys have been sneaked into the lounge and bar area behind the ceremony area to wait until time to enter. 
Getting all lined up to process in from the side area.
Blake has all the girls lined up at the door and waiting for the signal to start. 
Another look at the string quartet. Unfortunately I could not find a website for them to link to.
The guys and I have now entered and taken our places as the bridesmaids begin to enter. 
Then it is time for the ring bearer and flower girl to make their trip down the aisle. Ring bearer first.
Olivia does her thing as her mother trails along encouraging her. Look at all those people! It is intimidating to young children that all those big people are focused on her!
And now our bride and her father wait for the change of music to begin. 
"Come on, Dad, let's go!" I don't know if Erica said that but the photo looks like she may have! Both Erica and Will were very anxious to be married.
And down the aisle they go, flanked by their guests standing in honor of the bride!
Her father, Matthew, responded to my question and placed Erica's hand into Will's and everyone was seated. 
In the back of the room Blake and her staff listen to the ceremony. Blake is with Southern Oaks Events but they don't have a website for me to link to. Southern Oaks Events manage weddings at Melrose Knitting Mill and the Wakefield Barn. 
After words of welcome to all, a prayer and remembrance of those no longer with us, then a tribute to their parents, I got to tell the story of how they met and fell in love. A good story too with lots of laughter.
I write their story from both perspectives so no one has heard it told this way. Guests are fascinated and paying attention.
After the story each one gets to hear what the other has told me they love about them and what they are looking forward to in marriage. Some tears are usually shed.
Then a few words on love and marriage and it is time for them to make their vows to each other. 
Will went first and made his vows to Erica which were printed in my book facing him. They kept their vows secret from each other. 
Then Erica got to make her vows to Will. 
Time for the ring exchange. 
Will placed the ring on Erica's finger and repeated some words after me. 
Then Erica's turn. 
A closing blessing then the big moment when I declared them husband and wife and invited them to kiss! 
Erica and Will--congratulations! Your wedding was gorgeous and I hope you enjoyed the ceremony as much as I did delivering it! You are the best and I wish you the best life has to offer!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Michael-Anne and Michael's Surprise Wedding!

Michael-Anne and Michael's wedding was a surprise for their guests! They had gathered to celebrate their engagement at Michael-Anne's parents' home in Louisburg and enjoy a barbecue dinner. Michael-Anne and Michael had met with me a few weeks earlier and booked me as their officiant for their wedding planned at St. Mark's Chapel in Raleigh in October. Then Michael came up with the idea of surprising the guests at the engagement party on September 22nd 2018 and Michael-Anne loved that plan. They called me and I was able to do it! It was my 4th wedding of the day but the timing worked out perfectly.
This cake is a lot bigger than it looks in this photo! Made by a friend of the bride's mother. 
Michael-Anne's mother is a collector of everything mermaids. They are everywhere! 
The table with the Family Unity Sand Ceremony components are ready for the ceremony on the deck. 
Because this was a surprise wedding, we had difficulty pulling the guests away from their barbecue dinner to come around to the deck for the big announcement.
Finally with everyone in place for the ceremony we began. After making the surprise announcement that the guests were here to witness not an engagement but a wedding, I welcomed them all then we had an opening prayer.  Here I am addressing their kids and telling them how important they are in this marriage we celebrate today. Michael's daughters are Grace and MacKenzie and Michael-Anne's son is Tyler. 
After a few words on love and marriage, I invited them to share the vows they had written for each other. 
Michael went first. His words were so touching. He put a lot of time and thought and emotion into his promises of marriage to Michael-Anne.
Then it was her turn. She also had very touching things to say to Michael with her heartfelt promises to him. 
Then it was time to put the rings on. I began with some words on the meaning of the rings. 
So they placed the rings on each other's fingers after saying their ring vows after me. 
For the unity sand ceremony they each poured ½ of their sand into the container making 2 layers. 
Then each child poured all their sand into the container one at the time. MacKenzie went first. 
Then Tyler followed by Grace. 
The bride and groom then blended their remaining sand on top to complete the ceremony. 
I placed my hand on theirs and pronounced them husband and wife and invited them to share their first kiss as a married couple!
Dave missed the kiss but look at the happiness on their faces! 
Michael-Anne and Michael, you did it! It was a great way to get married and avoid all the fanfare and formality. Thank you for choosing me to join you in marriage. I know you will be very happy and wonderful parents for your blended family. All the best!